You can expect Hollywood to start pumping out a slew of films to copy “Crazy Rich Asians” as the film tops the box office charts for a second week improving upon last week. While it had a small slip, it rebounded again. So you know Hollywood studios will suddenly think it’s time to greenlight similar films.
The opening weekend for “Crazy Rich Asians” was historic. Its second weekend was even more impressive.
The romantic comedy sensation slid just 6 percent from its chart-topping debut to again lead the box office with $25 million in ticket sales, according to studio estimates Sunday. Almost as many people turned out over the weekend for “Crazy Rich Asians” as they did for its opening Friday-to-Sunday bow — an unheard of hold for a non-holiday release. Drops of close to 50 percent are common for wide releases.
But propelled by enthusiastic reviews and an eagerness for a major Hollywood film led by Asian stars, “Crazy Rich Asians” is showing almost unprecedented legs. After opening last weekend with $35.3 million from Wednesday to Sunday and $26.5 million over the weekend, the Warner Bros. release — the first Hollywood studio movie in 25 years with an all-Asian cast — has already grossed $76.8 million.
Ticket sales for “Crazy Rich Asians” have been less impressive overseas, where the film has only taken in about $7.1 million in a handful of smaller territories. Large countries like Britain will follow in the weeks ahead, although it is unclear whether China, the world’s second-largest film market behind North America, will grant Warner’s request to import the movie. China operates a quota system for foreign films.
The adaptation of Kevin Kwan’s bestselling novel, starring Constance Wu and Henry Golding, was helped by weak competition. STX Entertainment’s critically slammed R-rated puppet caper “The Happytime Murders” debuted with $10.1 million, a career-low wide release for star Melissa McCarthy. The robot-dog fantasy “A.X.L.,” from the beleaguered Global Road Entertainment, flopped with $2.9 million.
But the talk of the weekend was the sustained success of “Crazy Rich Asians,” which grossed approximately the same from one Saturday to the next.
“I’ve been telling my team that Big Foot sightings are more common than zero percent Saturday drops,” said Jeff Goldstein, distribution chief for Warner Bros.
Goldstein noted that after a 44 percent Asian-American audience over opening weekend, that percentage fell to 27 percent on the second weekend while Caucasian and Hispanic ticket buyers grew. “The audience is broadening,” he said.
The remarkable hold left many in Hollywood searching for comparisons. While such slim drops or second-week increases regularly happen over holiday weekends, you have to go back to the likes of “The Sixth Sense” (-3.4 percent in August 1999) and “The Fugitive” (-5.6 percent in August 1993) to find something similar.
There are a few other stray examples of movies that held so well without adding substantially more theaters like “Brother Bear,” ″Puss in Boots” and “Mother’s Day,” but that’s about it. Even “The Help,” which also opened mid-August, slid 23.1 percent in 2011 on its way to $169.7 million domestically and four Oscar nominations including best picture — a path that’s not out of the question for “Crazy Rich Asians.”
“There’s no greater indicator of the enthusiasm of an audience than a minimal drop in a second weekend,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore. “This isn’t the product of opening-weekend hype. This is the product of a great movie resonating very strongly with all audiences. The movie has become a cultural phenomenon.”
“Crazy Rich Asians” also expanded internationally, though with a more muted effect. It grossed an estimated $6 million in 18 markets, including $1.8 million on 105 screens in Singapore, where much of the movie is set. “Crazy Rich Asians” hasn’t yet been granted a release in China, where Disney’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp” opened over the weekend and collected $68 million, pushing its global gross to $544.1 million.
“The Happytime Murders,” which cost approximately $40 million to make, came into the weekend with some of the worst reviews of the year (22 percent “fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes) despite the pedigree of the Jim Henson Company. Brian Henson, the chairman of the company and son of Jim Henson, directed the raunchy Los Angeles detective tale, a kind of “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” for puppets. This film has already gotten studios whispering that it looks like Melissa McCarthy’s career is continuing to cool off. McCarthy’s box office results have been on a downward slide. “Spy” arrived to $29 million in 2015, followed by “The Boss” with $23.6 million in 2016. “Life of the Party,” released earlier this year, had initial ticket sales of $18 million. As anyone knows, this happens in every actor’s career signaling it’s time to shake things up.
It’s the second straight disappointment for STX, which has also seen its Mark Wahlberg thriller “Mile 22” underperform. With $6 million in its second week, it has been thoroughly trounced by “Crazy Rich Asians,”
In limited release, the low-budget John Cho-starring thriller “Searching” landed a $28,000 per-screen average with $250,000 in nine theaters.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
- “Crazy Rich Asians,” $25 million ($6 million international).
- “The Meg,” $13 million ($32.7 million international).
- “The Happytime Murders,” $10 million ($1.2 million international).
- “Mission: Impossible — Fallout,” $8 million ($13 million international).
- “Christopher Robin,” $6.3 million ($5.9 million international).
- “Mile 22,” $6 million ($5.7 million international).
- “Alpha,” $5.6 million ($6.7 million international).
- “BlacKkKlansman,” $5.3 million ($5.6 million international).
- “A.X.L.,” $2.9 million.
- “Slender Man,” $2.8 million ($5.8 million international).
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to comScore:
- “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” $71.2 million.
- “The Meg,” $32.7 million.
- “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation,” $17.8 million.
- “Big Brother,” $13.6 million.
- “Mission: Impossible — Fallout,” $13 million.
- “Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again,” $11.8 million.
- “The Equalizer 2,” $11 million.
- “Incredibles 2,” $7.9 million.
- “The Island,” $6.9 million.
- “Go Brother!” $6.9 million.